At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Phillips Idowu led the world rankings. After leading qualification, Idowu improved his season’s best to 17.62m in the final, but World Champion, Nelson Evora from Portugal denied him the gold medal surpassing him by 5cm, and Idowu had to settle for silver.
At the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Idowu won triple jump gold. Idowu beat Olympic Champion, Evora, with a life time best of 17.73m.
Idowu is a member of Belgrave Harriers and is known as much for his eccentricity as his triple jumping! His hair has been virtually every colour of the rainbow and his facial piercings are his trademarks.
Also a talented basketball and American football player, he was fourth in the 1997 European Junior Championships and took the English Schools’ and AAA under-20 titles that year too. The AAA U23 gold followed two years later and he had progressed into was soon building on that promise with the elevation into the world’s top ten in 2000. He won the 2001 European Cup with 17.23 but his best form deserted him at the World Championships in Edmonton.
The Commonwealth Games silver medal followed as he came just behind world record-holder Jonathan Edwards. A knee operation early in 2003 ruled him out for the season. Phillips reached the final in Athens 2004 Olympic Games but produced three no jumps. Four years before he had placed sixth in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in the final won by Jonathan Edwards. After his disappointment at the Athens Olympics, he had a difficult 2005 but started 2006 with gold at the Commonwealth Games, clinching gold with his first effort 17.45m. He finished 5th at the 2006 European Championships Idowu started the 2007 season superlatively.
At the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, he had a great battle with his team-mate and rival Nathan Douglas and in a high quality competition, Idowu came out on top with a world-leading 17.56m and carrying that momentum into the summer, Idowu won the Bislett Games in Oslo before an untimely back injury wrecked his gold medal chances at the World Championships, where he finished sixth.
But 2008 was by far his best, as well as his most consistent campaign. Idowu made no secret of the fact he was in very good shape prior to the World Indoor Championships, where he destroyed the field with a second round effort of 17.75m, which improved Edwards’ national indoor record, to move to fifth on the all-time lists. Idowu began the summer campaign in a similar vein of form, in his seasonal debut in Hania, he opened with 17.55m, before a victory at the European Cup in Annecy, before improving his season’s best to 17.58m at the Olympic Trials in Birmingham, despite leaving a generous margin behind the take-off board. Idowu is the current Commonwealth Games champion and World Indoor Champion.
His greatest achievement to date is silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.